I blew up a Toastmasters group last night

Just gonna put this in the Pit, even though it isn’t really aimed at anyone or anything… it’s too political for MPSIMS, not debatey enough for GD, and even though it’s political in nature, not really suitable for P&E… so here we are. Let’s just file this under “Recreational Outrage: Live Edition”.

Have a friend (Dave) who is helping another friend (Matthew) start a Toastmasters ™ group here in San Antonio. Having had some experience with TM, I was asked by Dave to help Matthew start his new TM group by attending the first few meetings until Matthew builds his group up. The first meeting was two weeks ago and when it ended I sent Dave the following text:

“LOL so a club run by a Trump supporter who wants to debate politics… I may not be welcome for long, especially when I give my award-winning speech ‘Defund the military and fund national health care’, lol.”

Dave lol’d back, but I was serious - I didn’t go to the 2nd meeting because the group this guy wanted was a group I wanted no part of and knew I couldn’t keep my cool around.

Matthew, btw, is a retired gentleman, on oxygen and using a cane. In the first meeting, he ran “Table Topics”, a segment where a person has a list of questions they throw out for the group to discuss. Matthews questions were all political, and his positions were always the FOX/ONAN takes… and I responded to each one and, in my mind (only, I’m sure, lol), successfully rebutted him. (Thanks, SDMB!)

But Dave is persistent and even after telling him no about last weeks meeting, he kept asking, even giving me control of the topics we would discuss. Anyway, I told him I will come this week, “sure, I’ll do it for you and I’ll come up with some interesting questions”. So I did my best to make them non-political, including questions like “If you could remove 1 thing from your daily schedule, what and why” and “Is a hot dog a sandwich, why or why not”

Toss out a few questions. Then I get to the question “What is a controversial opinion you have” (mistake #1), which allowed Matthew to pop up, “I’ll take it”. He stands up, adjusts the oxygen tube, and gives a two minute speech about how every ‘right thinking’ person needs to be armed, that the 2nd amendment is the most important of amendments, etc. Fairly typical whitey-righty rhetoric here in America, unfortunately, but not enough for me to start a Pit thread.

Sighing, I took my “L” with grace (remember, I was trying to keep it non-political), did a few more questions, then came around to mistake #2: “If you could call anyone alive in the world right now for a 30-minute chat, who would it be?”

Matthew raises his hand. I call on Matthew. And he gets up, and says… to the best of my ability to remember…

“If I were to have 30 minutes, I would call President Trump, find out how he does all that he does. And then I would tell him that he needs to shoot all these protesters and people who are destroying property, just line them up and give them what for.”

Well, that was it for Table Topics, I decided. Just gonna get the hell on out of here when this meeting is over and never have to think about that hateful, deluded old man again. So I said, “Well, I’m out of questions. What’s next on the agenda?”, with an eye to ending the meeting as soon as possible. To which Dave responds – “John, you haven’t gone twice yet. Why don’t you take a 2nd speech so that we’re all even here for our evaluations?” (You get evaluated at the end of this segment.)

Well, I was already pissed. And I had already made the decision that these weren’t people I would care to have on my TV, much less meet in person, regardless of masks and social distancing. So I agreed, and stood up:

“Dave, thank you. I will go again as invited, and I’m going to revisit the topic of ‘what is your most controversial opinion’, to which I respond: My most controversial opinion is that middle-aged and older white American men are undergoing a mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychological breakdown and that was never highlighted better in my life than listening to you speak, Matthew.”

I turned to Matthew, looking him directly in the eye:

“What the hell is wrong with you? You just gave a speech advocating for the slaughter of your fellow citizens for the crime of disagreeing with you. Matthew – there are 170,000 people dead, 25,000,000 unemployed largely because of that New York City real estate hucksters incompetence – do you not think they have something to protest about?

And…” I continue, turning to the rest of the audience (2 other people, including Dave, but still)… “… this is what I mean by the mental and spiritual breakdown of the white, American male. Matthew here literally gives a speech advocating for the mass slaughter of his fellow citizens… of me, since I’m one of the protesters… and we take this shit as normal, act a little embarrassed about it, and then don’t say anything.

Well, I’m done not talking. Matthew, you are damning your soul to Hell. The rest of you, have a good evening and think about what this man said in relation to the sort of country you wish to live in come November and remember which side is advocating slaughtering fellow Americans. Me? I’m tired of old white men who want to hurt and punish other people for their own failings, to satisfy their failed ideologies. Goodbye.”

And I picked up my tab and left.

I get the distinct impression that Dave was setting you up for that. Or setting Matthew up for getting reamed out, which you did a lot more politely than I would have.

I have to agree, though, that a lot of the people advocating the things Matthew has have (I hope) apparently not thought through what their positions mean for this country, and more people need to have it pointed out to them that advocating for the mass murder of their fellow citizens is not okay.

I almost read that thread title wrong.

Awesome, great job!

Man, I wish someone had stayed to report the reaction after you dropped that mike and left the stage!

:woman_standing: * rising to applaud *
Give 'em hell, John!

Have you heard back from Dave on what reactions were?

Sadly, I doubt that you have moved Mathew. In fact, he will probably use your speech as an excuse when he claims that he had not choice but to vote for Trump.

Yup. Trump supporters and bigots in general are broken and refuse to see facts right in front of them. It’s a religion.

If you want to go back after that spectacular crash, you just need to stand up and say three words: “Dave, Matthew’s banned.”

Another example of the mental and spiritual breakdown of the white, American male.


Matthew is wrong (colossally so) for advocating the slaughter of people who disagree with him, and when offered the floor you did well to call him on it. However, I also disagree with you for lumping all “middle-aged and older white American men” in with Matthew.

A friend of mine golfs regularly with a bunch of Trumpers. They know where he stands but he said they still would converse in the group as you would expect (i.e. worshipping orange ass and celebrating ‘triggering libtards’). He said one day he couldn’t stand it anymore and told him if they don’t stop the crap he’s done with them. Surprisingly one of them reached out and said they’d stop the talk.

Me? I’m close to telling several aquaintences to go piss up a rope.

a few months ago, another member of one of my clubs asked for help putting something up in his shop. I knew the guy was a Trumper but he wasn’t too noisy about it. This other guy who was there, though, man. Guy was in his 70s or so, overweight, with a walker. at some point in the conversation they were having he said how he hoped that after Donald Trump served his two terms, then Don Jr. would be next, then Ivanka, and so on. I had visions of yanking his walker out from under him and beating him with it, but I just gritted my teeth and got out of there ASAP.

Just amazes me how so many of these “freedom loving patriots” are perfectly fine with one-party rule under an autocrat. As long as they think the dictator is on their side, of course.

what they don’t understand is that dictators stay in power by always having an enemy. So once the dictator gets rid of all of those people they don’t like, the dictator will turn on them.

One of the things I like to bring up to these kinds of groups is “Epistemic closure is a scary thing”. The dumb ones totally blank, of course, but the ones who get it get royally pissed off. Schadenfreude for days.

(bolding mine)

Parsing the posts, JohnT didn’t lump all of them in with him. And it lends credence to his point that you thought he did.

He didn’t “lump in” all etc. He made a generalization, one that is true. The disease that afflicts Matthew is correctly described as a disease largely afflicting middle-aged and older white American men. JohnT didn’t say that each and every white etc. behaves that way, but it is a problem that is the responsibility of all white etc. to solve.

It does bug me that such people don’t see the inherent hypocrisy in “protesting is bad when others do it, but mass murder is fine when I do it”. But rational thought in public discourse is an increasing rarity these days.

  1. Not ‘all’, but point taken.
  2. I would not necessarily exclude myself from this group.

it’s decades of right-wing propaganda media hammering on a message of dehumanization to the point that they don’t consider liberals “American” and in some cases, not even people.

Jon Stewart put it best. Right wing media has been telling older white people “America belongs to you, and these evil liberals and minorities are trying to steal it from you.” and social media (esp. Facebook and Twitter) with their almighty ALGORITHMS keep them secure in a bubble and make them believe everyone feels the same as they do.

Okay, nobody’s going to acknowledge how great this is? C’mon… :laughing:

Ok, this did literally cause me to lol. I did choose the pseudonyms based on the band, but didn’t make the final connection. Damn fine work.